Boehner Does a 180, Joins Cannabis Board

His thinking on the drug has 'evolved'
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 11, 2018 1:00 PM CDT
Boehner Does a 180, Joins Cannabis Board
In this Feb. 26, 2015, file photo, House Speaker John Boehner speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

As a lawmaker, John Boehner was against marijuana legalization—way against it. In fact, in 2011, he said he was "unalterably opposed" to legalization out of a concern that it would "result in increased abuse of all varieties of drugs." He had reiterated that opposition as recently as 2015, the Washington Post reports. Well, it turns out he was only alterably opposed to it, because he's now joined the board of a cannabis operation. Acreage Holdings says it's "one of the nation’s largest, multi-state actively-managed cannabis corporations" and that its "mission is to become the world’s leading cannabis company, bringing safe, affordable cannabis to everyone who needs it." In a tweet announcing the move Wednesday, Boehner said his views on the subject of cannabis, currently classified as a Schedule 1 drug at the federal level, have "evolved," Roll Call reports.

"I’m convinced de-scheduling the drug is needed so we can do research, help our veterans, and reverse the opioid epidemic ravaging our communities," Boehner continued. In a statement expanding on his change of heart, Boehner explained that the attitude shift came about due to veterans who are affected by the opioid epidemic. "I have concluded descheduling [cannabis] is needed so that we can do research and allow the VA to offer it as a treatment option," he said. A joint statement with former governor of Massachusetts Bill Weld, who has also joined the board, further explains that cannabis can be used to treat other health issues vets struggle with, including PTSD and chronic pain. Boehner added that by descheduling cannabis, tension between federal policy and states that have legalized the drug will be reduced, thus allowing "research and testing from federally funded institutions" to be done. (Read more John Boehner stories.)

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